Interviewing Terrorists: The Definitive How-to Guide From An Ex-FBI Special Agent


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Special Reports

It was agreed from the outset that this series was to be about how the FBI as a team resolved the case, not any one individual person. That is when I was assigned by the UTF management to build from scratch and then direct the so-called Comparative Analysis Project, whose mission was the linguistic comparison of the 14 Unabomb documents to each other with one another, and eventually, with the documents known to have been authored by Kaczynski.

It was my team and I who determined in a little more than five weeks that these disparate writings came from one person and one person only. Yes, FC was, in fact, Ted Kaczynski…and vice-versa. In mid, Clemente and Gittelson pitched the series idea to the Discovery Channel executives. They wanted it to air on their network.

So, before long, the three of us signed contracts. Manifesto had been greenlighted. Unfortunately, before too much longer and without any real explanation, Clemente and Gittelson were fired from the newly renamed Manhunt: Unabomber series.

This happens not infrequently in Hollywood, I came to learn. So, I did. I met the new head writer, the director, talented people both, and I provided the facts and nothing but the actual facts to them about the Unabom case, the various hard-working members of the UTF, and my role while assigned there as a brand-new profiler. Throughout my interactions with the Manifesto production team, as in everything I had written before, during, and after the development, production, and airing of the series, I adamantly maintained that the arrest of the Unabomber was a team effort. There was no one person, to include me, who individually identified Kaczynski and eventually arrested him, prosecuted him, and put him behind bars for life.

Even with my repeating of the above facts and again, nothing but the actual facts over and over again, the new folks running Manhunt decided to take the series into some slightly different directions. Naturally, Ted Kaczynski, as portrayed by actor Paul Bettany, was to be the antagonist. They were using dramatic license to turn me, the real Fitz, into a composite character, an amalgam, of me and several other FBI agents.

But ultimately, I lost the arguments. The writing continued and the shooting of the series started in Atlanta. Then it premiered on the Discovery Channel on August 1, , for its seven-week run. High ratings and almost unanimous positive reviews followed shortly thereafter. By all accounts, it was a genuine hit.

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Which brings us to Greg Stejskal and his two articles on ticklethewire. There is more that Stejskal wrote in less than favorable terms about me. They are actually very wrong. So, now I feel that I must address said misinformation, point-by-point, for Stejskal and the other readers of ticklethewire. Not a one! My factual account also includes the details of my helping to convince the UTF management that we should, in fact, advocate for the publication of the Manifesto in the Washington Post.

I presume that Stejskal has not yet read my book, or at least not Chapter My role in the case is mentioned numerous times in their book, including on pages , regarding my direct involvement in urging for the publication of the Manifesto to the UTF management folks. I presume that Stejskal also has not yet read this book, or for some reason decided to skip over the Jim Fitzgerald references. Incentive Awards are given out on occasion to agents, analysts, and other FBI employees for what is considered exemplary work.

They sometimes include cash bonuses.

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In my case, I was awarded the highest dollar amount allowed at the time for agents and supervisory agents. In , in Washington, D. Theodore J. Kaczynski, As I readily acknowledged in my earlier posts, these scenes from the series were fictitious.

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They never happened in real life, nor did I ever assert that they did. In fact, when I first read of these scenes in early scripts, I was quite upset. The marriage fell apart, and her anger led to what happened next. They must have had a disagreement. And nothing happens. She told them her husband had ties to the ISI and hated India. And perhaps most surprising, Faiza told U. But intelligence officials at the embassy declined to look at the case.

Embassy security officials filed it away as low priority.

An opportunity was lost. During the same period, the U. In , as previous years, we knew that they were engaging in plotting, and that information had been shared with the Indians. Senior U. Later, the CIA intercepted a communication indicating an attack might come by sea.

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Counter-terror agents at the U. As a result, Indian police issued a warning in September that listed the Taj Hotel at the top of a possible list of targets. Security at the hotel was temporarily beefed up, but little more was done. You put an alert, people will wait for, you know, 15 days of alert or 30 days of alert, and then nothing happens. And another important decision— the attackers would hijack an Indian fishing boat and sail to Mumbai. Having the gunmen arrive by sea is harder than having them arrive any other way. He took boat tours from here.

He hired a fisherman to take him around. And what he was looking for was the best approach and the best landing site. Here he saw a strategic landing site. A main thoroughfare runs nearby. Headley brought a GPS unit to map it out. He plots the GPS coordinates for this landing spot. This is the route. This is where we are right here. Two blocks closer was the Leopold Cafe, a favorite for Western tourists.

Just around the seawall was the Oberoi Hotel. And then a quick taxi ride away, locals would be targeted at the busiest rail station in Mumbai. He returned on July 1st, Airport security cameras captured this picture of him upon his arrival in Mumbai for his last reconnaissance. Major Iqbal and Sajid Mir had given him final instructions. He came here to the lobby, using the camera on his mobile phone to film. These images have never been seen before. He writes in his memoir that an employee told him to put down the camera.

Video taking was not allowed. There was one more target to pinpoint, Chabad House, a synagogue and hostel run by an American rabbi and his wife. Major Iqbal chose the target. His objective, the global jihad against Jews and Americans. In his memoir, Headley writes that he looked for security cameras.

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He videotaped, and he took these pictures. He writes that the building seemed inconsequential. He took the risk of calling Major Iqbal. Headley, a lot of real estate experts have told us that that particular property is going to appreciate in value within a few months. In August, he returned to Pakistan, here to the Gilani family compound in Lahore. In his memoir, he explains that Lashkar was moving forward with the Mumbai attack plan.

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His name, Zarrar Shah. His team of young computer experts were 21st century jihadis. I learned a lot about Shah from the interrogation of his assistant, who was captured and questioned by Indian authorities. In in Pakistan, it was a cutting-edge technology that they thought was harder to trace. They were wrong.

What Shah never knew was that Western spies had gained access to his on-line communications months before the attack on Mumbai. Jeff Larson reports on technology and intelligence for ProPublica. He was one of the first to analyze the Snowden documents related to Mumbai and Zarrar Shah.

Interviewing Terrorists: The Definitive How-to Guide From An Ex-FBI Special Agent Interviewing Terrorists: The Definitive How-to Guide From An Ex-FBI Special Agent
Interviewing Terrorists: The Definitive How-to Guide From An Ex-FBI Special Agent Interviewing Terrorists: The Definitive How-to Guide From An Ex-FBI Special Agent
Interviewing Terrorists: The Definitive How-to Guide From An Ex-FBI Special Agent Interviewing Terrorists: The Definitive How-to Guide From An Ex-FBI Special Agent
Interviewing Terrorists: The Definitive How-to Guide From An Ex-FBI Special Agent Interviewing Terrorists: The Definitive How-to Guide From An Ex-FBI Special Agent
Interviewing Terrorists: The Definitive How-to Guide From An Ex-FBI Special Agent Interviewing Terrorists: The Definitive How-to Guide From An Ex-FBI Special Agent
Interviewing Terrorists: The Definitive How-to Guide From An Ex-FBI Special Agent Interviewing Terrorists: The Definitive How-to Guide From An Ex-FBI Special Agent
Interviewing Terrorists: The Definitive How-to Guide From An Ex-FBI Special Agent Interviewing Terrorists: The Definitive How-to Guide From An Ex-FBI Special Agent
Interviewing Terrorists: The Definitive How-to Guide From An Ex-FBI Special Agent Interviewing Terrorists: The Definitive How-to Guide From An Ex-FBI Special Agent
Interviewing Terrorists: The Definitive How-to Guide From An Ex-FBI Special Agent

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